Mean

Mean

Myriam Gurba's debut is the bold and hilarious tale of her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Mean turns what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, funny, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.We act mean to defend ou...

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Title:Mean
Author:Myriam Gurba
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Mean Reviews

  • M.

    I reviewed this recently for 4Columns -- here's an excerpt:

    "“Being mean makes us feel alive,” Myriam Gurba writes in her new book, the memoir Mean. “It’s fun and exciting. Sometimes, it keeps us alive.” Rooted in her experience growing up a queer mixed-race Chicana in a world structured by whiteness, straightness, and misogyny, Gurba’s particular meanness is confrontational, deliberate, and very, very funny. She goes for the throat, then bats the reader playfully on the head."

    More here!

    I reviewed this recently for 4Columns -- here's an excerpt:

    "“Being mean makes us feel alive,” Myriam Gurba writes in her new book, the memoir Mean. “It’s fun and exciting. Sometimes, it keeps us alive.” Rooted in her experience growing up a queer mixed-race Chicana in a world structured by whiteness, straightness, and misogyny, Gurba’s particular meanness is confrontational, deliberate, and very, very funny. She goes for the throat, then bats the reader playfully on the head."

    More here!

  • Andrea Quinlan

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Phenomenal! You'll love and devour this and want to read it again in quick succession.

  • MariNaomi

    Hilarious and brutal. This is a must-read. I mean, damn!

  • Kate Olson

    This book blew. me. away. One minute I was cringing away from the graphic descriptions of sexual assault and the next I was chuckling at the brilliant word play Gurba throws down. This is one of those books that make me feel like I'm not quite cool or smart enough ~ it humbled me and had my brain whirring in overdrive. Hands-down the best book on rape culture I have ever read, but it breaks my heart that I need to have a favorite book about rape. It also covers race, gender, sexuality, feminism,

    This book blew. me. away. One minute I was cringing away from the graphic descriptions of sexual assault and the next I was chuckling at the brilliant word play Gurba throws down. This is one of those books that make me feel like I'm not quite cool or smart enough ~ it humbled me and had my brain whirring in overdrive. Hands-down the best book on rape culture I have ever read, but it breaks my heart that I need to have a favorite book about rape. It also covers race, gender, sexuality, feminism, and culture in an unflinching, and at times hilarious, way.

    This one isn't for the faint of heart, but it is a must-read. Thanks to Coffee House Press for the complimentary review copy.

  • Elise Karlsson

    "German Jewish toker, hiker and intellectual Walter Benjamin wrote an essay titled 'Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting.' In it, he describes his musty zeal, intoning that 'every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.' The chaos of memories. The chaos of mammaries. The chaos that comes after being touched. The chaos of penetration. The chaos of breath. The chaos caused by quiet ghosts. The haunting."

  • Macartney

    Gurba tells us, the readers, over and over how mean she is (ie, unkind and characterized by malice). The book shows her to be anything but. Instead, she's a mean writer (ie, excellent and effective) who has written a mean novel (ie, vexatious; causing trouble or bother) whose words mean (ie, to signify; to intend to convey) something big, particularly in this #metoo moment. What does it mean to be marked as different, whether by sexuality, gender, race or assault? How can you make your story mea

    Gurba tells us, the readers, over and over how mean she is (ie, unkind and characterized by malice). The book shows her to be anything but. Instead, she's a mean writer (ie, excellent and effective) who has written a mean novel (ie, vexatious; causing trouble or bother) whose words mean (ie, to signify; to intend to convey) something big, particularly in this #metoo moment. What does it mean to be marked as different, whether by sexuality, gender, race or assault? How can you make your story mean something? What does it mean to (be) mean? Great questions, and Gurba pointedly refuses to answer them all. This is an angry, punk novel with a heart and reminded me strongly of WE WERE WITCHES. If these two novels represent where publishing is in 2017, count me in!

  • TaraShea Nesbit

    This book is fierce. Queer, funny, mean, loving. Fierce. The look at sexual trauma and how we as writers narrate trauma is a master class in preserving the self while describing the event. Gurba is able to have a reader laughing about the most traumatic of events, which is a kind of mode for showing healing. (I know I've recovered/"mastered" when my writing can include the humor of even the direst of situations.)

    Fave lines:

    "I know I can be mean, but I also want to be likable. I just don't want t

    This book is fierce. Queer, funny, mean, loving. Fierce. The look at sexual trauma and how we as writers narrate trauma is a master class in preserving the self while describing the event. Gurba is able to have a reader laughing about the most traumatic of events, which is a kind of mode for showing healing. (I know I've recovered/"mastered" when my writing can include the humor of even the direst of situations.)

    Fave lines:

    "I know I can be mean, but I also want to be likable. I just don't want to be so likable anyone wants to rape me."

    "The white girl looked at something beyond us, at something we couldn't see. Maybe the white privilege fairy. She was steadfast in her colonization."

  • Miriam

    Can I give this six stars? I want to. Nah, I need to - just a few pages in, I knew I'd found my queer intersectional feminist manifesto. Mean is whip-smart, hard-hitting, wildly fun. and totally punk. Thanks for being a fucking rock star, Myriam.

    I would write a proper review, but all I really want to say is read it. It's important.

  • Verity Sturm

    Myriam Gurba’s Mean is a powerful, creative, uproariously candid memoir of a woman between a slew of extremes. Set in the heat of California and adolescence, Mean bluntly unveils the racism, sexual violence, and homophobia braided into a queer Chicana’s coming of age–flavors of hatred that have taught Gurba the vital art of being mean. Featuring art, ghosts, true crime, and a whole lot of black humor, Gurba’s floating prose and topic matter (like herself) refuse to submit to any one genre or for

    Myriam Gurba’s Mean is a powerful, creative, uproariously candid memoir of a woman between a slew of extremes. Set in the heat of California and adolescence, Mean bluntly unveils the racism, sexual violence, and homophobia braided into a queer Chicana’s coming of age–flavors of hatred that have taught Gurba the vital art of being mean. Featuring art, ghosts, true crime, and a whole lot of black humor, Gurba’s floating prose and topic matter (like herself) refuse to submit to any one genre or form. Mean is a generously honest and refreshingly real ownership of the unjust, bound to challenge readers to recognize the vectors of oppression potentially woven into their own lives and face them with appropriate meanness.

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